© Paramount Pictures, 1978
How is it possible that Terrence Malick wrote and shot this movie in 1978 and we can watch it today for probably the 7th time and it is still one of the most exceedingly gorgeous pieces of filmmaking we’ve ever viewed? Filmed almost exclusively at magic hour, this sparsely dialoged work is a breathtaking look at nature and humanity from the perspective of migrant workers who come to sow the crops of a rich landowner in rural middle America near the turn of the last century. Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard and Richard Gere are as beautiful as they’ll ever be. And Linda Manz (who had never acted before or since) is eerily fascinating as the cigarette-smoking “little sister” seemingly wise beyond her years, yet almost entirely without affect – a striking choice by Malick for the film’s narrator. With an Oscar nominated score by Ennio Morricone, Oscar nominated costume design by Patricia Norris (who was decades ahead of her time with a rucksack-inspired look we now purchase for hundreds of dollars a piece from Matteo) and Oscar winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, Days of Heaven is as stunning to watch now as it was 30 years ago – quite simply amazing!